|SPRINGFIELD — Mercy Medical Center’s hospitalist program, also known as the Mercy Inpatient Medicine Service (MIMS), will mark its 10th anniversary on July 1.
Hospitalist care was pioneered and nationally recognized at the 226-bed Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, which offers one of the oldest such programs in existence and has served as a model for hundreds of similar programs nationwide.
The hospitalist model guarantees that admitted patients will receive round-the-clock care by an internist who specializes in hospital medicine. Hospitalists also care for any hospitalized patient in need of urgent or emergency attention.
In step with one of the fastest-growing new physician specialties in the U.S., Mercy Medical Center’s hospitalist staff has grown to 12 board-certified internists. Nationally, the ranks of hospitalists have grown to over 7,000 practitioners working in the majority of U.S. hospitals.
The director of Mercy’s Inpatient Medicine Service, Winthrop F. Whitcomb, M.D., is a pioneer in the field who founded the Society of Hospital Medicine (formerly the National Association of Inpatient Physicians) in 1997 along with John R. Nelson, M.D., of Gainesville, Fla.
“In addition to covering the hospital on a 24-hour basis, our practice also staffs the 60-bed rehab unit at Weldon Rehabilitation Hospital and a new pre-operative outpatient service,” said Whitcomb. “The growing acceptance of hospitalists by patients and physicians has paralleled the emergence of research supporting the notion that quality of care, patient satisfaction, and the cost of care are favorably affected by the new model. The challenges facing office physicians keep growing and continue pushing them to see more patients in their offices, thereby adding to the attractiveness of hospitalists for their inpatients.”